From Caijing Magazine:
Time seems to stand still in Tonghua, a gritty factory city in an isolated corner of Jilin Province, near the Chinese-North Korean border. Bypassed by highways, an antiquated railway is the city’s most important link to the provincial capital Changchun, eight hours away.
Life’s pace has changed little over the past half-century. Work generally revolves around the only major employer, the state-owned Tonggang steel mill controlled by the provincial government through Jilin Tonghua Iron & Steel Group.
Former Chinese soldiers settled in Tonghua in the 1950s after the Korean War. Many became steelworkers, and their sons and daughters followed in their footsteps. Today, most local jobs are either at the mill or revolve around smaller companies feeding off the mill’s payroll and expense account. The mill is also a major revenue source for the local government.